Disability is an umbrella term that covers impairments, limitations, and participation restrictions. Disabilities can be visible or invisible and be present at birth or occur during a person’s lifetime. The American with Disabilities Act (1990) defines a person with a disability as an individual who: “Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment” (Disability Discrimination).
Visible disabilities refers to physical disabilities that are mostly readily apparent and include mobility, visual, or hearing impairments.
Invisible disabilities refers to disabilities that are not immediately apparent and can refer to symptoms such as debilitating pain, fatigue, dizziness, weakness, cognitive disfunctions, learning differences, mental disorders, and hearing and visual impairments. (www.invisibledisabilities.org)
Media representations of disability often present people with disabilities as sinister or evil, overcoming an obstacle, exotic, or laughable. (From Disability Studies and the Inclusive Classroom: Critical Practices for Creating Least Restrictive Attitudes by Susan Baglieri and Arthur Shapiro).
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